Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St Intersection

Updated August 11, 2021

What’s happening now?

Construction of this project was planned for this fall. It will now begin after the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge (high bridge) reopens, which we are on schedule to reopen in mid-2022. This fall, we expect to select a contractor for building the project.

When the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closed to traffic in March 2020, the Highland Park neighborhood and the Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St intersection became part of a detour route. We immediately installed a traffic signal at the intersection to keep people moving safely and efficiently.  

The traffic signal has been working well and will continue to serve its purpose until the high bridge reopens in mid-2022 (and the intersection is no longer part of a detour route).  

Out of sensitivity for Highland Park neighbors who are already experiencing increased traffic, and the travelers who use the intersection, construction on the signal will now begin after the bridge reopens in 2022. This is to ease the impact on people living in Highland Park of more congestion and more cut-through traffic.

Project Overview

Highland Park Way SW is a major north-south route in West Seattle, providing access to SR 99, SR 509, I-5, and the Duwamish Trail. It has been the site of several crashes and safety issues due to poor sight distances, high speeds, travel lane confusion, and a lack of pedestrian facilities like crosswalks. Additionally, it is now a major intersection on the detour route for the West Seattle Bridge closure. The Highland Park community had been asking for changes at this busy intersection.

The project includes:

  • A more durable traffic signal with metal poles that have signal lights instead of lights connected to wooden poles.
  • The signal will also include traffic cameras to monitor and adjust the signal in real-time, as well as vehicle detection in the pavement so the signal can recognize when a person driving is waiting at the light.
  • Rebuilding all four corners of the intersection with new American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible concrete curb ramps and curb bulbs. 
  • Painting permanent crosswalks at each crossing. 

1% Art Funding

We have secured 1% art funding for this project! The City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture can access approximately $120,000 in SDOT 1% for Art funds to implement some form of artwork at the project location. In early 2021, SDOT will work with the Office of Arts & Culture to select an artist or artist team. The artist(s) selection process will be focused on hyper-regional artists in West Seattle and the South Sound. Community engagement on the artist(s) design concept will take place as early as May 2021.  

We look forward to working with the Highland Park neighbors on the design concepts for this gateway into West Seattle.

Project Design

The design graphic below shows all four corners of the intersection are being rebuilt to include curb ramps and a permanent traffic signal will replace the temporary traffic signal that was installed after the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure. The main difference between a permanent signal and the temporary signal at the intersection is that a permanent signal will have more durable, metal poles with signal lights instead of lights affixed to wooden poles. The permanent signal will also include traffic cameras to monitor and adjust the signal in real-time, as well as vehicle detection in the pavement so the signal can recognize when a vehicle is waiting at the light. 

intersection graphic

West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Closure Impacts

The closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge on March 23, 2020 brought significant traffic to the Highland Park neighborhood and to the already-strained intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St.

Temporary traffic signal. One of the first projects SDOT crews built after the High-Rise Bridge closure was a temporary signal at the intersection, which will be replaced by a permanent signal in 2021 as part of the Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St Safety Project. On January 30, 2021, we installed a left-hand turn signal for people driving northbound on Highland Park Way SW and turning left onto SW Holden St. When the permanent signal is built in 2021, a left-turn signal phasing will be added. 

People biking on Highland Park Way SW. Prior to the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure, this project began design on an uphill bike lane on Highland Park Way SW from West Marginal Way SW to the Highland/Holden intersection. This would have required a vehicle lane reduction to accommodate the extra space for the bike lane. This design was shared with the community in early summer 2020 and we learned this was not desired while Highland Park Way SW was being used as a detour route during the West Seattle Bridge closure. Instead, we heard from many community members and the bike community that a widened path on the east side of Highland Park Way SW from the intersection to West Marginal Way SW could be a good alternative to the uphill bike lane.

At this time, the Reconnect West Seattle project team is looking at how this widened path would integrate into the full bike network in West Seattle. We are determining feasibility and funding options while gathering further input from the community and neighborhood.  

Traffic Calming 

In June and July 2020, speed humps and cushions were built in nine locations near the intersection to support safety around the new traffic signal. These locations are shown below. The speed humps and cushions help slow down vehicles as they approach the intersection and discourage neighborhood cut-through traffic. Speed humps are a solid hump across the road and speed cushions leave spaces between for emergency vehicles and people biking to easily pass through. 

Separate from this project, the Reconnect West Seattle project team is currently looking at additional traffic calming in the Highland Park neighborhood to address detour traffic from the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure, through a Home Zone. A Home Zone involves the entire neighborhood working together to prioritize improvements that calm traffic on residential streets and improve pedestrian mobility and neighborhood livability.

Locations of speed humps and cushions in Highland Park neighborhood

Schedule 

The project has reached final design. We originally scheduled construction at this intersection for fall 2021. Out of sensitivity for Highland Park neighbors who are already experiencing increased traffic, and the travelers who use the intersection, construction on the signal will now begin after the bridge reopens in 2022. This is to ease the impact on people living in Highland Park of more congestion and more cut-through traffic. We expect to select a contractor later this year. 

Materials

Funding

This project is funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015.